Welcome to Rita’s Bower where readers gather to meet our favorite or soon-to-be favorite authors while sipping delicious drinks and savoring decadent treats. Serve yourself a plate and drink, settle back in a comfortable chair, prop up your feet, and welcome our guest author, Rachel Donnelly.
I am so pleased to interview Rachel who is a Golden Heart and Golden Pen Finalist. Her debut novel with Crimson Publishing, Lady Broke, was released in July. She has promised to share some hot details today, but first, let’s meet our guest.
Tell us a little about yourself, Rachel.
Hi Rita, thanks so much for having me as a guest. I'm a wife, mother of two, part-time teacher and full-time writer. I fell in love with historical romance as a teenager and after reading them for years decided to write some of my own.
Your blog says that you have a family, maintain a garden, and harvest and preserve red currants. How do you manage to fit writing into your busy schedule?
I know it's crazy, right? But I think all women are like that. We're always doing ten things at once. We live in an old Victorian house on a farm. I'm a big gardener so this time of year is busy. I get out early weeding or picking for an hour in the morning (Red currants and snowpeas right now, but the blueberries are coming on fast and the beans are in flower) then I write for about six hours, jumping up in between to throw around laundry and wash a few dishes while the story is percolating. I write until I reach my page goal and then it's time to start supper and check in with everyone online.
Lady Broke is a traditional western with nontraditional characters. Bounty hunter Nat Randall and Easterner Christie Wallace are certainly at odds from the moment they meet. Without giving away too much, give us an overview of Lady Broke.
It's an East meets West story of a spunky socialite who's always trying to do things right and a rule-breaking Bounty Hunter who are thrust together during a bank robbery. It's sort of the opposites attract theory come to life and how that sort of friction plays out.
It's also a story of retribution--a theme I tend to revisit as a writer and one I also love to read about. It must be my subconscious working out my own demons--searching for a way to be more forgiving. LOL. We can all use a little of that.
You nailed the period and the dialogue. Why did you choose this particular location and period? Did you need to do a lot of research?
I do a lot of research for my historicals, not only non-fiction but also reading poetry and popular fiction from the time as my bedtime reading. I try to immerse myself in the era. It's a labour of love.
I love the old West--any history for that matter--regency, medieval and, of course, any time period with cowboys in particular. There's a lot going on at that time in 1870 with regards to expansion of the West with the railroad finally laying tracks all the way to California and the newfound wealth of some after the Gold Rush. Women's fashion is gorgeous at that time, becoming more flowing and yet still ornate. It's a very romantic time. I loved creating the town of Murdock and its inhabitants.
You created a classic group of villains for Lady Broke with the Everette Brothers Gang. They’re a scary trio but each has his own character. Their group dynamics are fascinating, even though they are SO evil. Is there a story behind them?
There is definitely a story behind them, but I don't know if it will be told. Something I've learned as a writer is to know your villains as much as your heroes and heroines, if you want them to be believable. None of us are all good or all bad. It's always interesting to explore the whole nature vs nurture issue. Was it their parents, their environment, or were they just bad eggs?
Before we look forward, let’s take a look back. While doing my research for the interview, I found several great books on Amazon with your name on them. I admit to reading the whole freebie excerpt on two of them and plan to go back and read the other excerpts and buy the books. What’s the story?
I self-published a few of my books about a year ago when my husband had cancer. I thought I wouldn't be able to continue teaching part-time and follow my dream of becoming a writer. I'd have to get a full time job. I had so much joy writing those books. I thought, I can't let all of this go to waste. I'm throwing it out into the universe, maybe someone will get some enjoyment out of it.
And they did. I got such a tremendous response. I met so many great writers and readers on Facebook and Twitter. They got me through a very hard time. They lifted me up and carried me along, and then, like a miracle, I sold to Crimson Romance. Romance writers are all about love and so are the people who read their books. I can't think of another profession who supports each other so much, or one I would be more proud to be a part of.
I think falling in love is one of the most magical things that happens to us. I'm happy to report my hubby, the love of my life, has now been cancer free for one whole year. Hurray!
I’m so happy to hear about your husband’s recovery and your writing success. Romance authors and readers are a special group, for sure. Looking to the future, what’s next for you after Lady Broke?
Right now I'm wrapping up the second book in my young adult fantasy series, Evelina. At the same time a second western has been growing in my little pea brain. So I'll be diving into that hopefully next week between edits of Evelina. And I'll be making red currant cordial and picking blueberries of course...tossing around laundry....diving for apple cores under the beds... you know the usual. LOL
I’m certainly looking forward to reading more of your books. How can readers contact/follow you?
Website | Email | Twitter | Facebook
Thank you, Rachel, for visiting.
Thanks so much, Rita, for having me. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!
Drop by and visit anytime. The door to Rita’s Bower is always open. Happy reading, dear readers, until our next gathering,